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Red Cross begins damage assessment in Tonga

February 13, 2018 5:15 am

Water, shelter and food are the immediate needs for people in Tonga who were battered by Category four Tropical Cyclone Gita last night.

Local and international NGO’s are working with the National Emergency Management Office to gauge the extent of the damage on the main island of Tongatapu.

Tongan Member of Parliament, Lord Fusitua says this was one of the strongest cyclone experienced by the country in many years.

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“There are trees that have fallen everywhere, debris, there are instances of vehicle blown on top of houses, I have seen shipping containers blown and deposited on top of buildings, the damages are really extensive and significant and will be a great challenge to rebuild.”

He says there has been atleast one confirmed death so far.

Tonga’s Red Cross Secretary Sione Taumoefolau says they have started their assessment.

Cyclone Gita brought winds over 233km/hr which ripped roofs off houses, brought down trees and completely destroyed Tonga’s Parliament House.

“Red Cross at the moment, they are currently doing their assessment and hopefully by the next few hours we will have a better picture but of course Category four brought in a lot of breezes and so of the houses gone, some of the new ones, roofs are gone but we hope that we can respond today also.”

Meanwhile, the New Zealand Government has announced that it is providing an initial funding of over $1.1 million for Tonga.

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